Patients who visit any comprehensive dental clinic may wonder why the practice offers both restorative and cosmetic dentistry. At Langley Dental Care, we get questions about the differences in these services all the time. While both types of care can make your smile look better, they do have distinct differences in why dentists perform them and how they help your smile.
Restorative dental care services provide necessary treatments to correct physical problems with your teeth. These typically are medically necessary procedures to stop the pain, fix damaged teeth, or make eating and talking normally possible. Decayed, cracked, or missing teeth are common problems treated by restorative dental services, which include the following:
Dental fillings stop decay in a tooth before it infects the tooth’s root. Usually, the dentist will spot a cavity on x-rays during a regular exam or if you come in for tooth pain. Cavities cause pain because openings in the tooth expose the nerve to external stimuli.
A filling is a simple procedure in which the dentist opens the hole to clean out bacteria and places a filling in the spot to stop future decay. After getting a filling, you should no longer feel pain in the tooth. If you delay getting a filling, the decay may worsen, requiring root canal therapy for the tooth.
Root canal therapy is not the painful procedure people think that it is. Think of it instead as a filling that treats deeper into the tooth. Instead of just cleaning out bacteria from the tooth’s exterior as a filling does, root canal treatment cleans out the interior of the tooth’s root canals. Modern methods used by dentists make this a much more successful and almost painless procedure compared to those offered years ago.
A dental crown is a cap to cover the entire tooth surface. After root canal treatment, you may need a crown to protect the tooth and restore its strength since cleaning out the tooth’s interior can slightly weaken it. At Langley Dental Care, you can get both root canal therapy and crowns for your teeth if you need them.
Sometimes, a tooth will have a severe break, crack, or decay that requires extraction. Additionally, if you have wisdom teeth that erupt in your mouth and cause problems, you may need to have the dentist pull these teeth. Professional dental extractions remove problem teeth from your mouth to eliminate pain, prevent overcrowding, or get rid of an infection that root canal therapy cannot treat.
While wisdom teeth need complete removal, if you have another tooth pulled, you may consider a dental implant to replace the tooth. Dental implants are permanent fixtures in your mouth that completely replace missing teeth. Unlike dentures, they stay in place and look and feel the same as any other natural teeth because they are anchored in your jaw. You may also need implants for implant-supported dentures if you want a more secure alternative to traditional dentures or bridges.
Missing teeth can make eating and speaking difficult. Dental bridges and full dentures replace multiple teeth to help you with these tasks. The former option covers a single gap in your mouth with one or more artificial teeth held in place by supports on two sides. Dentures or partial dentures replace some or all of your teeth. Various options include immediate dentures that fit into your mouth after extractions and allow the gum to heal with the denture in place, implant-supported implants that use dental implants as anchors, or traditional ones that you remove nightly to clean.
Cosmetic dentistry covers the area of dental care that makes healthy teeth and gums look brighter, whiter, or straighter. Before getting any cosmetic procedure, you will need to have an exam to verify that your teeth and gums can support the services. If you need restorative treatments to fix problems, you will get those before you have cosmetic dental care.
Everyone wants whiter teeth, but elements in daily life can thwart your efforts. Common causes of teeth discoloration include berries, coffee, tea, wine, antibiotic use, internal tooth damage, and aging. For some of these causes, the darkening of your teeth starts from the inside and requires more intensive treatment than you can find in an over-the-counter whitening set.
Professional dental whitening addresses a variety of staining or discoloration causes. Your dentist will evaluate your teeth to choose the best system for optimum results. With dentist supervision, you can avoid the most common side effects of whitening, including tooth sensitivity or inadequate results.
Gaps between teeth, short teeth, a severely stained individual tooth, or chipped teeth with healthy structures can be fixed with dental bonding or porcelain veneers. These cosmetic treatments correct healthy teeth to make them blend into the rest of your smile and look more even.
Dental bonding and porcelain veneers are similar solutions to these problems. Both cover the surfaces of teeth to restore their appearance. Talk to your dentist about the best option for you.
Dental bonding requires a single visit to fit in your mouth, and the procedure costs less. However, it only lasts for five to seven years. Porcelain veneers are created in a lab from the custom mold the dentist makes. These durable veneers last for a decade.
If you are an adult or have an older teen needing braces, you don’t have to settle for painful wire orthodontics. Invisalign aligner trays offer a more comfortable, invisible way to correct overbites, underbites, overcrowded teeth, cross bites, gaps between teeth, or crooked teeth. You can only get Invisalign through a qualified dentist who can create the images for customizing your aligner trays. After the imaging, you get a set of trays, and you wear each one for two weeks until you have completed the course. Within a few weeks of treatment, you can achieve a straighter smile to be proud of.
Comprehensive dental care includes restorative and cosmetic dentistry services to round out preventive cleanings and exams. If you need a dentist to offer you this range of care, contact us at Langley Dental Care. With our full suite of services, we can help you get and maintain healthy teeth and gums to support cosmetic care to improve your smile’s look.